“We were snuggling on the couch, which I love. But when I sniffed your face and I was about to give you a lick on the cheek, you turned away. What did you mean when you said my breath was stinky?” – Love, your senior pet
Is your dog’s breath wilting the flowers in the house? Have you noticed your cat drooling more than usual and maybe she’s pawing at her face? These can be signs of a common aging change for your senior pet: Dental disease.
Many pets, particularly seniors, suffer from painful dental problems – tartar, gingivitis, broken or abscessed teeth, to name a few. Sometimes, you will notice signs of stinky breath (halitosis), or drooling/pawing at the face but often time, our sweet old-timers live with chronic mouth pain and they don’t say a thing about it to their owners! In fact, even with a mouth full of problems, many pets will still continue to eat normally and act normally but that does not mean that they are not in pain. Have you ever had a cavity? Ouch! It doesn’t stop us from going about our normal day either even if we are in discomfort.
Here’s what you can do to make your senior pet more comfortable and to treat/prevent dental disease:
Talk to your veterinarian about a professional dental scaling and polishing
Check your pet’s mouth routinely, in between veterinary visits, for anything unusual
Monitor at home for any signs of smelly breath, pawing at the face, excessive drooling, decreased appetite or any other unusual changes
Brush your pet’s teeth at least every other day – daily is best though!
Feed a diet that has dental benefits such as Royal Canin Dental Diet or Hills Prescription T/D, if recommended by your vet